Jun 25, 2013


I was doing just fine.  Really.  I was.  I managed to actually get out of the bed, dry my eyes, blow my nose, and sit up in the buggy like a real live person.

"What ever happened to keeping your crazy on the inside?" I wondered as I poured my morning coffee. "The way you're carrying on, you'd think that you had lost a close family member.  For pity's sakes!  You didn't go this far over the edge when you really DID lose close family members!  What the heck is WRONG with you, anyway?"

So I got on with the business of things until Aunt Chrissy told me that his funeral is going to be on Thursday at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

And I puddled all over the place again.

No, in case you were wondering, I never met or dated or married or touched or talked to or even came within the same zip code as James Gandolfini.  But I loved him as though he were my very own soul mate, imported straight from New Jersey its Very Fabulous Self....just to make me giddy.

James Gandolfini was the only reason I actually put my glasses on my face some days.  And watching him in The Sopranos was a ritual that I performed as a way to forget about reality for a few hours and go deep into a world full of gabba-gool and Christo-fa!

Yeah, I lived in New Jersey for six years, but I never really "was" Jersey.  I tried.  Really.  I did.  I came home to Hoosierville and impressed the dickens out of anybody who would listen with my tales of life on the shore and all of the amazing things you could find there in the way of food and family and attitude.  I admit it. I became a total wanna-be from the moment I laid eyes on the Garden State Parkway, and planting myself in front of Tony and Carmella and the gang made me feel like I could fit right in rather than get laughed out of the neighborhood for calling it pasta and sauce instead of noodles and gravy.

Then there were the moments when I watched other things with my boy in, like The Mexican and The Last Castle.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  He's going to be remembered for his portrayal of the world's favorite white terry cloth bathrobe wearing mafioso, but to me he was also a guy who could make ice melt with those limpid pools of deep brown love once he set them on you.

Oh.  Sorry.  I got a little lost there, didn't I?

From the time I could begin remembering, Mom carried a coin in her purse that she always said was her good luck charm.  All I knew was that it was about twice the size of a quarter and had a church on it.  I'm sure that she probably told me a thousand times where it came from, but all I heard was something about New York and a cathedral called St. John the Divine.  I don't know if Mom got the coin during a visit there, or if it was given to her by one of her brothers as a souvenir, but she carried that thing every day of her life and then it passed along to Aunt Chrissy and moi as our very own good luck charm.

Over the years, we've kind of passed it back and forth as a little secret way of bolstering each other up during tough times.  We've never actually said it aloud, but when the coin change hands there's an implicit "Boy, are things sure screwed up for you!" that necessitates the transfer of the coin and all of its hopeful good luck.

So as I was sitting and minding my very own business yesterday, Aunt Chrissy walked in and handed me the coin.  I figured that it was her way of saying "Snap out of it!", but instead she just let me hold it for a minute and then she told me that James Gandolfini would have his funeral in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

And I bawled all over again.

OK.  I'm done now.  Sorry to let my crazy on the outside, kids, but it was getting pretty full in there and I'm almost afraid of the permanent damage that would have resulted from me going one more day with a smile plastered on my face and a simple "Fine, thank you.  How are you?" coming out of my mouth every time somebody in polite society asked me how I'm doing.  So, finally, we're moving on.

Stitching continues on the Rishfied canvas.  I'm concentrating on the center flower and hope to make some significant progress this weekend when we get together with some lady friends for a little Saturday afternoon stitch fest.  I'm so excited about it I can barely keep from prancing around, but I've promised Aunt Chrissy that I will take my medicine and not "be me" no matter how hard it might be to just fake a little normal for a few hours.
Is it just me, or does this look exactly like the progress pic that I posted nine months ago?


Stewey sends his love.  He has his very own obsession at the moment, so we're currently in an "all Liberace all the time" mode around these parts.  I swear, if I have to watch Behind the Candelabra one more time I'm going to break something.  When you combine that with the fact that I keep finding rhinestones all over the damn place, it's any wonder I haven't gone further round the bend.

 "Sorry, Mo-ther.  You've got your crazy obsessions and I've got mine.  Get over it already."

I hope that this finds y'all well and safe and happy and healthy and stitching to your heart's content. 

Can you believe that it's June already?

Jun 19, 2013

Jun 7, 2013


So there I was, minding my own business, when it kinda hit me smack dab between the eyeballs.  Instead of agonizing about how in the holy heck I'm going to stitch the leaves on this canvas, I decided to get started on the center flower.  And to do that, I decided to stitch the same cross-hatch stitch in the center so that it will be all matchy matchy and also come a bit forward.  I think that I'm going to stitch that purple loop do loop in the same stem stitch background as the yellow flowers in the outer border, and then the rest of the big flower will be tent stitch.  (Don't fret about the little black dots, kids.  I'm going to tart this sucker up to within an inch of its life with some pretty crystals and beads when it's all done, so those definitely won't get lost in the shuffle.)
Isn't it funny how inspiration strikes?  I find that morning shower time is the most productive, but if I go into said shower telling myself that I'm going to solve the mysteries of the universe...nothing.  But if I'm half asleep and not really quite human at o'dark hundred, KA-BAM!  I'm witty and urbane and smart and organized.  Ideas flow like water from Ye Olde Target showerhead, and before I've lathered, rinsed, and repeated, I'm on fire with brilliant-ness.

(Too bad I can't figure out how to make those few moments of mental clarity last throughout the day, or we'd really get stuff done around here.)

Methinks I'm going to plant my fanny in the Happy Chair with a Magic City marathon and some ice cold Cleveland water for sustenance today (*).   The laundry will still be there tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure that Mr. Fussypants would rather lounge in the sun than hide under the bed to get away from the Hoover.

Here's hoping that your weekend is exactly as fabulous as you want it to be!  Woo Hoo!

(*) Cleveland water:  When Aunt Chrissy and I were at the Cleveland Clinic, there was a big jar of water in the lobby filled with herbs and fruits and stuff.  (Remember that?  I kept making Aunt Chrissy drink it because I was convinced that it was magic and would fix whatever's wrong with her.)  Well, I've started a little tradition here at Chez Spinster whereby I fill a pitcher up each morning with lemons and limes and mint and basil and whatever else sounds good, and I try to sip on it all day.  And yes, before you ask...I scrub the lemons and limes and mint and basil thoroughly and use bottled water, so if this is going to end up killing me, it will only be from good intentions and not some crazyass pesticide that they're using on citrus these days to make it more citrus-like.
Happy, happy weekend, folks!  We'll see you on the other side!

Jun 5, 2013


My dear and special friends both far and near....

It seems that several weeks have passed since last we spoke, so I thought I would take a moment to put pen to paper (or paws to keyboard as the case may be) to say hello to my adoring fan club.

(Or as my stupid Mo-ther calls you...."sweet people who are kind enough to put up with the lunatic rantings of a portly spinster and her precocious little dog".)

But I digress...

Summer is upon us here in Spinster's Corners.  Although the temperatures are hovering in the 70's, we've managed to spend a fair amount of time outside enjoying some warmth and sunshine nonetheless.  Mo-ther and Aunt Chrissy have planted the usual garden and flower pots, and it would appear that this year will be no different in that Mo-ther will forget to tend to said garden and flower pots and Aunt Chrissy and I will be left to manage the inevitable hand wringing and complaining that will spew forth from the old lady's mouth once she realizes that she is not, in fact, Ina Garten or the nice lady in the movie It's Complicated, who seemed to grow basketball-sized tomatoes from the top of her straw hat.

I have been behaving myself admirably, but must confess that this is more the result of me spending 7 to 8 hours at a time in my apartment rather than any concerted effort on my part not to pee in the freshly laundered house.  Yes, you read that right.  My mo-ther finally got off her big fat heiney, and she took both the living room and dining rooms apart and scrubbed them to within an inch of their lives.  She even removed the lovely fabric skirts from the chairs that I had been using for "target practice" all these years, so now I am left with nowhere to hide and Glad wrapped chairs legs as a silent admonition not to even think about it.

Mo-ther is still stitching away on her Rishfeld canvas and has applied several thousand basketweave stitches to parts various and sundry.  She's seems perfectly happy to stick with this one, but I am very anxious to get her knee-deep into some cross stitch or other things before the dust settles on the studio stairway and we're unable to remember how to do anything other than simple tent stitch.

My Aunt Chrissy and Bosco are hanging in there and send their love as well.  On particularly bad days, my Aunt Chrissy is lifted up by your love and concern, and she wanted me to send you big fat kisses and a heartfelt thank you.  She will be well soon enough, and since we all seem to be made of hearty peasant stock around here, I suspect that all will be right with the world sooner than we think.

I do hope that this finds you well and that you know how much we love and appreciate you all.  I hope that your needles are flying, your families are thriving, and that until we meet again you remain happy and healthy and wealthy and wise.

With much love from your pal,